Search - Willie Smith :: Memoirs

Memoirs
Willie Smith
Memoirs
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #2

And in this corner, at the upright pianola--that's right folks, the crusty, genial Havana-chomping octogenarian in the derby--we have Willie "The Lion" Smith, that rollicking stride-piano master, savvy showman, and racon...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Willie Smith
Title: Memoirs
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Koch Records
Release Date: 5/22/2001
Album Type: Original recording reissued
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop
Styles: Piano Blues, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 099923858423

Synopsis

Amazon.com
And in this corner, at the upright pianola--that's right folks, the crusty, genial Havana-chomping octogenarian in the derby--we have Willie "The Lion" Smith, that rollicking stride-piano master, savvy showman, and raconteur par excellence. Smith will be your genial guide through the gin-joints and hell-pits of Depression-era Harlem, playing for you his "up-front 'n' poisonal" survey of the hits and hangouts of America's green jazz years, well-peppered with lively "foist-poison" stories and a scrapbook of memories. Smith is one of the inventors of jazz--a peer of Eubie Blake and mentor of Duke Ellington--and he scales the heights of piano wizardry. He awards high accolades in mimicking the wealth of styles of his day--hell, he knew them all and invented a few styles himself! James P. Johnson, Fats, Satchmo, Blake, Irving Berlin, and other Tin Pan Alley greats all receive vivid cameos in Smith's survey. Of course, Smith plays them his way, giving Johnson's "Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid" his own patented cascading waterfalls of tinkling arpeggios. The delightful chatter, patter, music lessons, philosophy, sepia tints of vaudeville players, hot rags, and sweet romancers will edify and amuse you. His name-dropping--Lena Horne's dad, Sammy Davis's dad and uncle--will open your eyes to the complex history and sociology of early showbiz. His Yiddish folk songs, snippets of Chopin and tango, tale of a "cutting" contest with Fats Waller, and a slaphappy, wacky "Nagasaki" will leave you rolling in the aisles. --Fred Bouchard

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CD Reviews

The Lion strides again!
jwilke123 | Seattle, WA United States | 06/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Lion was one of the famous Harlem stride pianists of the teens and twenties, a piano ticker who played rent parties as well as big shows, and is credited with being Duke Ellington's piano mentor. With ever present derby hat and cigar, The Lion was a great story teller, and here he talks about the stride piano style and his contemporaries including James P.Johnson and Fats Waller. He punctuates his anecdotes with numerous musical examples from brief demonstrations to full lengh performances. He was almost 70 when he recorded this lively session in 1967. It's an entertaining lesson from a still-feisty master."
Here the Lion roar..........and then some.
Abe Vigoda | Los Angeles, CA. USA | 07/03/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I really couldn't wait to hear this! but I wish I would've heard it before I purchased it.
Willie "the Lion" Smith is one of the great Stride Pianist along with Lucky Roberts.
this CD does contain some excellent tracks of Willie's music BUT he narrates the whole thing before the songs, during the songs and after.......I guess its nice to get the info on who he got the ideas from for a riff and who he played it with and what era it was in and his technique but it gets to be too much.
Its great to hear the legends actual voice but it doesn't have to be almost every song, the narration is longer than the songs.
SO!! in short if you want to hear great music uninterupted (like me) don't buy this and if you want to learn about Willie maybe you have an essay on him, well then this is your CD"
The Lion laughs
jwilke123 | Seattle, WA United States | 06/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Willie The Lion Smith was one of the famous Harlem stride pianists of the teens and twenties, a piano ticker who played rent parties as well as big shows, and is credited with being Duke Ellington's piano mentor. With ever present derby hat and cigar, The Lion was a great story teller, and here he talks about the stride piano style and his contemporaries including James P.Johnson and Fats Waller. He punctuates his anecdotes with numerous musical examples from brief demonstrations to full lengh performances. He was almost 70 when he recorded this lively session in 1967. It's an entertaining lesson from a still-feisty master."